Spotify vs Pandora: Which is better? [Detailed Comparison]

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Have you ever found yourself confused about choosing Spotify or Pandora? Both are popular music streaming services with their features and benefits. Spotify is famous for its social features, integration with other platforms, vast library, and variety of content.

Pandora is a radio service that is best in music discovery. It suggests new songs and creates radio stations for you according to your preferences. Both platforms look appealing because of their advanced features. But the question is, which platform is better than the other?

In this article, we’ll comprehensively debate Spotify vs Pandora in different aspects like music library, user interface, plans, compatibility, and other advanced features. So, keep reading to learn which platform is compatible with you.

Spotify vs Pandora Overview




Free PlanAvailableAvailable
Individual Plan$10.99
Student Plan$5.99$4.99
Family Plan$16.99$14.99
Sound Quality320 kbps192 kbps
Availability184 CountriesAvailable in US
Songs100 Million50 Million
Podcasts5 Million600,000
Audiobook350,000Not Available
Artist Payout$0.0033 per stream$0.0013 per stream
Offline ListeningAvailable for Premium UsersAvailable for Premium Users

Spotify vs Pandora

Spotify was launched in 2006, while Pandora was launched in 2000. Both platforms work well in providing value to the audience. Spotify and Pandora comparison will help you choose the right service for you. So let’s start:

Spotify vs Pandora: Free Plans

Spotify and Pandora offer their free tiers, which will be very helpful if you’re not willing to pay. These free tires come with some restrictions, but despite these restrictions, this free tier is useful for many users.


Spotify allows you to use their music streaming platforms free of cost. In the free version, you can skip six songs per hour. You can’t download songs, playlists or albums. Maximum Audio Quality in the free version is 160 kbps on mobile or desktop apps and 128 kbps on web players.

In addition, you’ll face some annoying ads while listening to music. But you can access their entire music library. You can make playlists with Spotify suggestions or manually add songs to your playlists. 


Pandora’s free tier has ads that often appear for 15-30 seconds, spoiling the fun of music listening. Using its free version, you can only skip 30 songs in 24 hours and six songs per hour or station. It offers you audio quality of 64 kbps in the free version.

In the free version, you can only listen to customized stations, not specific songs. You can’t download songs in the free version. In addition, Pandora doesn’t offer desktop apps for free users.

Winner: Spotify

Spotify is the winner because it offers more features than Pandora in the free version.

Spotify vs Pandora: Premium Plans

Spotify and Pandora also come with premium plans. Premium plans offer additional features and remove all restrictions like ads and limited skips.

Individual Plan$10.99$9.99
Duo Plan$14.99N/A
Student Plan$5.99$4.99


Spotify offers four plans: Individual, Duo, Family for a six member family and Student plans. In the free plans, Spotify gives you the ability of offline listening. You can download up to 10,000 songs. Enjoy music without annoying ads, and skip songs as many times as you want.

Moreover, Spotify offers additional features like Crossfade, connect, etc. In addition to this, Spotify also offers you extra services; if you buy their premium family plan, you can get access to Spotify Kids free of cost, which is a music app specially designed for kids and with the Student Premium Plan, you get access to Hulu with ads and SHOWTIME.


Pandora offers you more plans than Spotify. It provides you with Pandora Plus and Pandora Individual Plan. In Pandora Individual Plan, you get personalized playlists without any ads. You can search and play whatever you want without ad interruption.

In Pandora Plus, you can still enjoy personalized playlists without ads, but you’ll encounter ads if you want to play specific songs. It also offers a family plan and discounted tiers for students and Military members.

You can also use their desktop app in the premium version. Although Pandora offers you lower prices than Spotify, Spotify gives you additional services and extra features than Pandora.

Winner: Spotify

Spotify is the winner in this round.

Spotify vs Pandora: Audio Quality

If you’re an audiophile and prefer high audio quality, you must be curious about this section. Both music streaming apps offer high audio quality in their premium versions and comparatively low audio quality in their free versions. Buy their paid versions to enjoy music in high audio quality.


Spotify offers you four audio quality options: Automatic, which depends upon your internet connection; Low Audio Quality of 24 kbps; Normal Audio Quality of 96 kbps; High Audio Quality of 160 kbps; and Very High Audio Quality of 320 kbps using Ogg Vorbis format. At the highest sound quality, Spotify uses almost 150 Mb per hour.


Pandora also offers you different audio quality options based on your plans. It provides you with three options: Low Audio Quality of 32 kbps, Normal Audio Quality of 64 kbps, and High Audio Quality of 192 kbps using AAC+ format audio format.

Winner: Spotify

In this round, Spotify is the winner because it offers higher audio quality than Pandora.

Spotify vs Pandora: Content Availability

Content availability is the main criterion when choosing any music platform. Most users, including me, go to music apps to discover their content. Everybody wants to have a vast music library at their fingertips. Luckily, both platforms offer an extensive library to their users. 


Spotify has a variety of content in its library. It offers more than 100 million tracks of different genres like Pop, Hip-Hop, Desi, Rock, etc., and this number is increasing with the addition of 20,000 new songs every day.

There is a rare chance that you search for any songs or artists on Spotify and not find them in their extensive catalog. Additionally, Spotify also hosts five million million podcasts like “The Joe Rogan Experience, Crime Junkie, The Daily, TED Talks Daily etc..”, and 350,000 audiobooks, making it a one-stop one-stop destination for audio lovers.


Pandora also offers a wide range of songs and podcasts. It offers 50 Million tracks from artists like Nirvana, Lady Gaga, Justin Bieber, Coldplay, etc. It also provides around 600,000 Podcasts from all around the world. Like Spotify, it doesn’t offer you audiobooks.

Winner: Spotify

Spotify provides more variety of content and is more significant in number than Pandora, So Spotify is the winner.

Spotify vs Pandora: Music Discovery

Music Discovery is a great way to discover new music and new artists. Sometimes, you might be unsure about what to play next; curated playlists play their role, and suggest new songs and playlists based on your listening habits.


Spotify is well known for its recommendation system. It suggests new songs and artists and helps in enhancing your musical exposure. Spotify also has a Radio Feature, allowing you to create personalized radio stations for your favorite songs or artists. However, it may not be as diverse as Pandora Radio Stations. 

When you make a radio station based on any song or artist, Spotify creates a list of songs that are musically similar to that song or artist you selected. Moreover, Spotify offers different playlists, such as Discover Weekly, Daily Mixes, and Release Radar. 

Daily Mixes is a personalized playlist of songs made for you, depending on your history and interests. These songs are updated daily and consist of songs from different genres and artists you might like.

Release Radar is a playlist of newly released songs updated every Friday. It consists of freshly released songs by artists you follow or might like. Radar keeps you up-to-date with the latest music releases from your favorite artists.

Discover Weekly is a curated playlist of 30 songs updated every Monday. Spotify uses machine learning algorithms to analyze your preferences and suggest songs according to your likes and dislikes. 


Pandora is a radio streaming service. Its primary function is to create live radio stations based on your preferences. Pandora works on The Music Genome Project, a comprehensive music analysis project started by Pandora Co-Founder Tim Westergren.

The Music Genome Project analyzes each song based on 400 attributes like melody, harmony, rhythm, instrumentation, vocals, lyrics, etc. A team of experts analyzes each song on Pandora. 

Pandora also creates radio stations of songs and artists. You can further customize these radios by giving thumbs-up or thumbs-down ratings. Pandora has different modes for radio; you can choose according to your which is shown below:

Crowd Faves Mode generates a list of popular songs of your chosen artist or genre. It plays songs for which most users have given thumbs-up ratings.

Discovery Mode introduces you to less popular songs that generally do not play on the station, but you might like. It is an excellent way of exploring new music.

My Station Mode is its primary mode, which generates a list of songs for you based on the preferences that you’ve added to that station.

Deep Cuts Mode focuses on playing lesser-known tracks by the artists you’ve added to the stations.

Newly Release Mode prefers playing the latest songs from your selected artists and genres. It helps in listening to new music every time and stay updated.

Winner: Pandora

Although Spotify also creates curated playlists for its users, Pandora specializes in music discovery. So, in this round, Pandora is the winner.

Spotify vs Pandora:  User Interface and Design

A good interface is like a playground, offering users a place to navigate, interface and explore the music world. Beautiful interfaces play an important role in user engagement and making user experience enjoyable.


Spotify has a dark theme and a boxy grid-like style. Navigating on Spotify is like a breeze; even if you’re new to it, you’ll find it easy. Its interface is divided into three sections. Its Home Page has a scrolling design featuring recently played songs and curated playlists. Search tabs help you find music from almost 40 genres, such as pop, hip-hop, and indie.

Library Tab is exactly what it sounds like: a virtual bookshelf to organize and keep your favorite songs, albums, and podcasts. In the desktop app, you can create folders to manage different playlists.

In the mobile app, you’ll find these three sections at the bottom of your screen, while on the desktop app, these tabs will be available on the left sidebar of your screen, which you can drag and drop according to your ease.


Pandora’s interface is straightforward. The Home Page greets you with your recently played radio stations, recommended playlists and new releases based on your activity on the platform.

The Search function enables you to find songs, artists and stations. Pandora also features a My Collection section, like a library that allows you to organize and access your favorite content in one place.

You can also go to settings by clicking on your Profile for further options. Overall, the user interface is quite good and easy to navigate, but you may find it cluttered at first glance due to redundant design elements.

Winner: Spotify

In the interface design round, Spotify won because it has a more beautiful and aesthetic design than Pandora.

Spotify vs Pandora: Parental Control

Parental Control feature enables the parents or guidance to maintain a check and balance on the content their children can access. This feature is very useful for parents who are concerned about their children’s music listening habits.


Spotify doesn’t offer any parental control feature. However, Spotify has an Explicit content feature, which enables parents to filter out explicit content by enabling the toggle of explicit content function from the settings.


Pandora offers parental control options that ensure children’s safe music listening experience. After enabling this feature, Pandora only plays censored songs and filters out other songs with mature language and theme. 

Each song is analyzed by real humans, which ensures that only censored content is accessible to children.

Winner: Pandora

Pandora is the winner in this round.

Spotify vs Pandora: Compatibility and Availability

Compatibility and availability are essential in today’s interconnected world. Both platforms are compatible with a wide range of devices.


Spotify has worked a lot on device compatibility. It is compatible with almost all the latest devices. It is hard to find a device incompatible with this music platform. Spotify is compatible with Android, iOS, Windows, Linux and macOS devices.

It has its mobile and desktop apps and a web version as well. Old devices with low storage can work well with Spotify Lite Mod Apk, a lightweight version of Spotify. In addition, it is also compatible with Smart Speakers, Smart TVs, Gaming consoles, and Android Auto, and it can be integrated with the Alexa app. Spotify is available in almost 184 countries.


Pandora is also compatible with most of the devices. It is available in a mobile app version for Android and iOS devices and a web player version. Pandora also has a desktop app for Windows, Linux, and macOS, but the desktop app is only available to premium users.

Like Spotify, Pandora is also compatible with Smart TVs, Smart Speakers, Gaming Consoles, Android Car Play, and many other devices. However, Pandora is only limited to the US due to licensing issues.

Winner: Spotify

Spotify is the winner because it is available in more countries than Pandora.

Spotify vs Pandora: Social Features

Social features are a plus point in each music streaming app, helping to create a friendly environment. These features provide you with an opportunity to interact with your friends.


Spotify offers many ways to interact with your friends and make a community of like-minded people. You can also follow your friends and add friends on Spotify from your Facebook friends list.

You can share your playlists with your friends and make them public so anyone can access them. Share your playlist through Spotify Codes. Spotify can also be integrated with the famous gaming chatting platform Discord.

The Friends activity option lets you see what your friends listen to on Spotify. You can make Instagram Stories of what you’re listening to on Spotify. Make collaborative playlists with your friends. In short, there are plenty of ways to interact with your friends, such as Spotify Jam.


Pandora offers social sharing and interaction features but less advanced than Spotify. Using Pandora, you can follow your friends, view their radio stations and like songs. You can also connect your Facebook with Pandora, but like Spotify, you can’t see your friend’s activity in real-time.

You can share your stations through direct links, Facebook and Twitter. However, you can only send it through social media platforms like Instagram. You can’t make collaborative playlists on Pandora.

Winner: Spotify

Spotify is a clear-cut winner in this round because it offers more social features than Pandora.

Spotify vs Pandora: Additional Features

Along with basic music features, both platforms offer additional features that enrich the user experience by providing additional functionality and convenience.


Spotify offers you many additional features that enhance your music listening experience. You can seamlessly integrate with other devices and use your mobile as a remote control using Spotify’s Connect feature. 

Spotify offers a Sleep mode feature that cuts music automatically after a specific period, which helps save your data and battery. You can set your sleep timer according to your sleep time. You can import your local file from Spotify into your library and stream through the Spotify app.

Spotify offers you the following additional features:

  • Gapless
  • Equalizer
  • Crossfade
  • Lyrics
  • Spotify Premium Wrapped (A summary of songs of the last year)
  • Concert Recommendations
  • Song Credit


Pandora also offers you some additional features. Pandora offers you a Thumbprint Radio, which consists of a list of songs you’ve given thumb-up ratings over time. It also gives you a Sleep timer, which is ideal for you if you are used to listening to music before sleeping.

It also offers you an Artist Station, which you can use to create a list of songs based on your favorite artist. This feature enables you to explore similar artists and music. 

Pandora also has its Voice Assistant, which allows you to control music using voice commands. It offers you the following additional features:

  • Auto Play
  • Lyrics
  • Alarm Clock
  • Sleep Sounds
  • Artist Insights
  • Music Discovery Tools

Winner: Spotify

Spotify is the winner because Spotify provides more additional features.


In short, Spotify is the overall winner. It provides you with more social integration options than Pandora and a wider variety of content. At almost the same price, Spotify offers high audio quality, more compatibility, advanced options, audiobooks and a highly appealing user interface.

However, Pandora may be more suitable if music discovery is your top priority and you’re willing to compromise on other features for curated radio stations. Spotify also offers recommended songs and radio features, but Pandora is still the king in creating curated stations.

Ultimately, it’s up to you to choose based on your preferences and priorities. In this article, I’ve provided a detailed comparison between Spotify and Pandora, which will help you decide.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ’s)

Yes, Spotify offers its free version with some limitations. You can skip six songs per hour and can’t download songs. You’ll listen to songs in a shuffle mode in the free version.

Because of these limitations, some users prefer the premium version over the free version, but the free version is still beneficial if you’re not willing to spend money.

Pandora is currently available in the US due to licensing issues. Like Spotify, it is not available in every region of the world.

Pandora is best at creating personalized radio stations because it is an online radio service. Although Spotify also offers its radio feature.

Yes, Pandora offers its free tier, but there are some limitations in the free version; you can skip six songs per station and 30 skips per day. You’re unable to access their desktop app in the free version.

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